Fashion. It sounds frivolous, but it has serious effects on us all.
Right now, women are getting beard-burn from kissing men who sport the fashionable romantic-hero three-day stubble. And mothers are stifling their disappointment when their golden-haired boys get the fashion-victim shaved-sides hairdo that makes them look like a cross between Kim Jong Un and the Last of the Mohicans.
And have pity on the people over 40 who are hunched over their computers trying to decipher text from the latest fashion in web design: a tiny, palest-gray font on a white background.
Alas, fashion favors the young.
Writing fashion is hard on us too. Fashion dictates a good deal of what gets published these days, and it’s constantly changing. Write like Thackery, Kipling, or Walter Scott and you’re unlikely to find a publisher or an audience. That’s because writing fashions have radically changed in the last two hundred years, even though the language itself has not.
The truth is that a great many of the “rules” that writers learn in workshops, critique groups, and classes are not actual rules of the English language. They may not even represent correct grammar. But they’re the “way we do things now.”
In other words: They’re what’s in fashion.